Tour de France 2021 – Stage 12

Col de La Loze and Madeleine Bust

As Paula righteously pointed out this morning, (most) normal people would take a day off, after yesterday’s effort.

She also knows I’m not normal, so she didn’t object to driving me to Moutiers, to start my ride up the Col de la Loze.

I had never even heard of the bloody thing and had actually planned a trip up to Courchevel, when looking that one up, I noticed La Loze, as it is mentioned “nearby”.

It all went downhill from there and today was a complete bust…

I got on my bike just outside Moutiers and entered the route up to Meribel, another ski resort in the area.

Col de La Loze actually connects Meribel with Couchevel, taking the long – and high – way over that pass.

It was already quite hot and we had a break near the Parc Olympique, just past the turn towards La Loze.

I then went on to where the misery starts – the final 7 kms with insane >20% stretches – only to find the sign reading motorized traffic was not allowed…

Which meant Paula couldn’t follow me and as it would have taken me an hour of climbing and a descend, I decided not to continue.

So, we went back down, turned towards Couchevel and once there, I took another wrong decision.

This is what happens when you start to improvize and do not dig deep enough into the details.

Both Meribel and Courchevel had enough of a challenge left, if I had (looked at and) followed the profiles, but I figured there wasn’t and I decided to get down to the Madeleine.

At least, getting over that would bring us close to home.

However, even if half of it was downhill, it was almost 30 kms to get to the start of that, which – including trying to find the way past Moutiers – took longer than I hoped.

And so, I immediately regretted just about everything I had done today, but certainly my stupidity taking me to this near 25 kms climb.

I was dead in the water – more like scorched earth, given the heat – less than 1 km into the first steep hairpin section.

I didn’t want to give up immediately and started with goals like “just 5 kms” and “get to 2,000 m of elevation gain for the day”…

Needles to say, I kept extending those goals, until I reached the summit, despite my inability to compensate for the sweating.

There’s only so much you can drink or gels you can swallow, before it starts working against you.

With about 50 breaks to ease the pain, it took me three hours to get to the summit.

I  even had a Dumoulin (Giro) moment, which has never happened during any cycling trip, but may well have been the result of the abundance of (hypotonic) drink and gels

Then again, luckily, I wasn’t trying to get a PR on the climb, because the herd of passing cows blocking the road for over 5 minutes would have spoiled that attempt 😂

I had the last chocolate chip cookie available and a smoothie at the summit, before the freebie bonus down to La Chambre…

Total for today: 101 kms and 3,000 m of elevation gain.

Link to Strava, Ride with GPS and Relive.

And it is unlikely that Paula will allow me to get on my bike tomorrow…

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